March 31, 2021-We made it! We’ve answered your questions all this month and are so thankful to each reader who sent us an email. Just because the theme of the month is over doesn’t mean that we won’t continue answer your questions. Email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to hear from you! Let’s dig into our final question for March.
Q: What is the best part of being an author and what is the biggest challenge?
A: What a great question to end our theme with this month! There are a lot of “best parts” of being an author to me. These are some of my personal favourites.
- Seeing people enjoying your book in public-There’s no feeling quite like this. Seeing people enjoying my books is priceless. One of my favourite things to ever happen was when I was travelling on vacation. I was boarding a plane and heading to my seat when my husband tapped me on the shoulder. He said, “Look! That kid is reading your book!” I peered over the seat and saw a child reading Panda the Very Bad Cat. My husband said to the child, “Hey! Guess what? This is the author of that book!” The kid looked up from their book, took one look at me, and said, “No it’s not.” And went back to reading. Talk about being humbled LOL!
- Receiving emails from readers- I’ve certainly had a lot of these this month and I’m so grateful! Any time readers reach out to me, I make it my duty to respond. Some emails are wonderful and complimentary, some ask questions, and some look for advice; I enjoy reading each one of them and hope that I can help them find their writing path in some small way.
- School visits- Definitely one of the highlights of my career is reading to kids and lecturing in schools and universities. Sharing my knowledge and stories is extremely fulfilling and I hope to help ignite a love of literacy within them. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the question and answer period in Kindergarten classes! I’ve been asked a number of hilarious questions such as, “How much money do you make?” “Are you famous?” “What is your third favourite reptile?” and my personal favourite, “Is that your real hair?” LOL!
- Book signings- Meeting my readers in person is an honour. To have people read my books and tell me what they thought is such a thrill. Connecting with readers is what it’s all about and I learn so much from our interactions.I’m beyond grateful for all of our readers and hope to enrich their lives in some small way, even for a brief moment, through storytelling.
- Continuing Education– I’ve been so fortunate to be able to continue my education around the world. I’ve studied publishing and writing in Boston, New York, Toronto, and London, England. I’ve completed courses at Wharton, Copenhagen University, and Stanford and am excited to continue to learn and grow as an author and publisher. Learning never stops in this business and I’m always trying to find new and innovative ways to tell stories and to put our books into the hands of readers. I think that I’ll always be a perpetual student.
- Publications- It’s pretty cool to walk into Walmart or a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. Whether it’s in a magazine, a newspaper, or book, it’s always thrilling. One of the highlights of my writing life so far, is picking up a magazine at the checkout of the grocery store and seeing an article I wrote. Women’s World is a magazine I write for quite frequently and their readership is 1.6 million people worldwide. That’s epic if you ask me that that many people are reading my stories. Chicken Soup for the Soul was another thing I celebrated (I’ve been published with them twice so far) seeing on the shelf because to join such an amazing and well respected publication was icing on the cake! They’ve sold 11 million copies around the world and to have my stories as part of that is such a great feeling.
While trying to answer the second part of your question, I’m sitting at my laptop watching the cursor blink on the page. This question took me a lot longer to answer. What is the biggest challenge of being an author? This is so hard for me to answer because I love what I do so much and am so fortunate to write for a living. After thinking for awhile, I guess I’ll say that rejection is the hardest part of being an author, but even that, we learn from. Rejection is something that we never really get used to and if we take it to heart, it can be really destructive. But the good outweighs the bad. It’s a career that I highly recommend!
If you’d like to continue to get advice on your writing and publishing questions, check out my number 1 best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca
March 30, 2021- Tomorrow is our last day of taking your questions! We’re sad, but at the same time very excited for Aprils theme which is Pushing the Envelope in Your Writing. Just because we’re done with the theme for March doesn’t mean that you can’t still email us your questions, send us an email at email@example.com. Here is our question for the day:
Q: “You’ve said that there is value in sending out newsletters about upcoming book releases etc. As a self-publisher how do I collect email addresses from interested readers?”
A: Yes! You are correct; there is a ton of value in communicating directly with your readers and there are many ways to do this:
- Subscribe button on website or blog. This is one of the easiest ways to get readers to subscribe to your content since they’re already coming to you and interested what you have to say. A pop up page can come in handy, just make sure it’s not obnoxious and popping up while readers are trying to view your articles.
- In person events. This is the most fun way to gather email addresses! You get to directly interact with your readers and tell them about the valuable info that you provide in your newsletter and why they should subscribe. Tell them about upcoming releases, free classes or workshops, tidbits of interesting info, upcoming events, and whatever else you think they’ll be interested in! Have a sign-up sheet and make sure that you get their permission and consent to add them to your newsletter.
- Post card and direct mail marketing with your sign-up information. Never disregard direct mail as a great way to communicate with your readers! If your readers purchase titles directly from you, this is a great opportunity to include marketing information such as a postcard, flyer, or last month’s newsletter. Your reader can find out how to subscribe to your newsletter on the marketing that you include with their purchase. Remember to include a call to action such as “Sign up today!”
- Exclusive access. Giving your readers valuable content and knowledge is important and surprising them with a little something extra is always a great idea. You can say, “Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get free access to Ten Things You MUST Do to Write a Best-seller!” and then give them exclusive access to the article, course, or download.
Remember not to overdo it with your newsletter. At most it should be bi-weekly, but we prefer monthly; be consistent with when your newsletter is sent out. Pick the same date each month such as the first, fifteenth, or thirtieth to make it easy to remember and schedule.
If you’d like to subscribe to our newsletter, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to our list. In the meantime, check out some of our books and services here: Products – Pandamonium Publishing House
A question from a reader about our children’s books
March 29, 2021– We’re wrapping up our theme of answering your questions this month! I’m having a ball and I hope that you are too. Let’s see what today’s question is:
Q: “What is your number 1 piece of advice for aspiring authors?”
A: Hmmm? This is a tough question! My number one piece of advice for aspiring authors has to be, “You get what you work for, not what you wish for.” I know that many of you who follow my blog, social media, and podcast have heard me say this hundreds of times, but it still rings true. When I started out as an author, I had enough rejection slips to wallpaper the side of my house, but that did not deter me; I kept working hard, improving my writing, continuing my education, and submitting my work to publications. Stick with it and keep working no matter how hard it gets and be sure to take feedback constructively. Becoming an author is all about learning, improving, believing in yourself, and refusing to give up. Here are some tips to remember as you begin or continue your author’s journey:
- Write down your goals. You won’t ever hit a target that you can’t see, that’s why it’s important to figure out what you want. Your goals can be anything that you want to achieve in your writing career; best seller status, selling x amount of copies, seeing your name in print, getting published, selling your work to your favourite magazine, doing school visits etc. Your list of goals can be small or large, but I’m a big believer in dreaming BIG.
- Take action. Work on your goals every single day and ignore everything that will distract you from reaching them. It’s one thing to dream, it’s another thing to take action toward making your dreams come true. Dream it, but then do it.
- Define success. What does success mean to you? Whatever it means you need to define it so that you’ll know what it is when you get there. No one can tell you what success it, but you!
- Keep your chin up. Yes, you’re going to face rejection, a lot of it, but that’s ok, it’s all part of the journey. In this business we need to have a thick skin because sometimes people can be less than nice; as long as you’re learning and enjoying the process, you’ll get to where you want to go!
Best of luck in your publishing journey! Happy Writing X LLB
March 26, 2021– Happy Friday, Friends! I hope that we’re in for a nice weekend. Next week, we’ll be wrapping up our theme for the month in which I answer your most asked questions. It’s been a really fun experience and I’m grateful to the people who sent in questions via email to email@example.com. Let’s see what the question is today:
Q: “I’m reading a lot about press releases and the importance of them when a new book launches. I’ve self-published and I’m wondering how to write one. Can you help?”
A: Great question! The main function of a press release is to announce to the media that you have a new book out and why they should talk about it/read it. Press releases contain the following things:
- The title of your book. This is self-explanatory.
- Where to purchase your book. Sometimes, the media such as newspaper reporters, bloggers, and book editors get free copies of books for review, but not always. Most are happy to purchase a copy to support the author and many of them pass the press release on to friends and colleagues that may be interested in reading you book. Be sure to include the websites, bookstores, the publisher’s website, and anywhere else your book is sold. You can also include social media handles provided they are your professional ones (e.g., Book pages, author page, Youtube Channel, Book Trailer etc.).
- Author information. A short bio works well to introduce you to your readers. Include things that are relevant like your education, interests, and anything you’ve previously had published. It should be short and to the point. Also, some authors include where to reach them as in an email address. For example, L. Colling was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and still resides there today. She’s completed her education in literature in New York, Boston, and London. Obsessed with Her is her first thriller. Including a professional looking headshot of yourself is always a plus. Plus, if you’ve won any awards for your book, mention them.
- Reviews. Positive reviews from satisfied readers are always excellent to include. Reviews let people know why they should read your book and potentially what they will enjoy about it.
- An interesting tidbit. This is the blurb usually found on the back cover. It’s a brief synopsis, usually no more than a short paragraph that’s a teaser for what’s inside!
- Make it clean and uncluttered. We don’t want the press release to be visually overwhelming. When there is too much info, especially info that is disorganized, it looks not only unprofessional, but it’s hard to read and understand the message that you’re trying to convey.
To contact your local press, do a Google search; start in your hometown and branch out from there. Local authors with new books make great news articles and interviewees for podcasts, blogs, etc. Happy Writing X LLB
How to get published, find guidelines, and reach an audience through magazines.
How to get published, find guidelines, and reach an audience through magazines.
March 25, 2021– Happy Thursday, Friends! We’ll be wrapping up our most asked questions in the next week, and we hope that you learned some new things. On April 1st, we’ll be starting a brand-new theme called, “How to push the envelope in your writing” and we certainly hope you’ll join us. Let’s jump into today’s question.
Q: “Lately I’ve been feeling really uninspired in my writing. I want to write a children’s book, but I can’t seem to come up with any good ideas. You’ve written a lot of kid’s books, where do you get ideas from?”
A: Sometimes it’s hard to be inspired I agree, but if we look around, we can find plenty of ideas. A lot my children’s book subject matter comes from real life experience and people that I’m close to. My nephews and niece inspire me like crazy; they range in age from 17 years old to 3 months and the toddlers tend to have amazing ideas that make it onto my books. For example, most recently I wrote a book called Cakes for Snakes and it came about at my kitchen table in the Pandamonium Publishing House Tour Bus; my three-year-old nephew, Denver asked, “Auntie, who makes cakes for snakes?” I grabbed a pen and started taking notes. We’re formatting Cakes for Snakes in a whole new way as a full colour comic book for kids with the one and only Alex Goubar, stay tuned for more information on a release date! Check in with your friends and family (especially the kiddos) and think about changing your environment. You can head to the park, the outdoor bike/walking trails, the mall, and other places to find inspiration around every corner. Be sure to ask yourself questions. I wrote The Extreme! Supreme! Dogwalker, Darlene after walking my own pup, Luna. I thought to myself, what would make someone an ultimate dogwalker? What tools would they have to make their job easier? What would they do to keep the dogs occupied? Etc. Jot down every idea because you never know where it will lead. Keep in mind when writing for kids, the crazier the plot and the bigger and more exaggerated the story, the better. Another tip is to pick up books that inspired you as a child and read them once again; what did you love about them? What parts spoke to you the most? And so on.
If you need help with writing for kids, let me mentor you! Check out my masterclass here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House
Remember, discipline beats motivation every single time. Even though you aren’t inspired it’s important to sit down and write. Put the words on the page. Happy Writing! X LLB
March 24, 2021-As we begin to wrap up our theme of answering your most asked questions this month, I hope that you’re gaining some insight into the business of writing and what challenges authors face. If you’d like to submit your question, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s what we’re tackling today:
Q: “Lately I’ve been hitting a wall with rejections and I don’t know what the problem is. Should I spend money on writing classes to see if they can help?”
A: I think it’s smart that you’re realizing that there could be an issue with your writing and that’s why you’re getting rejected. It could be a possibility that your writing needs to be improved and I am a huge advocate for continuing education. Yes, if you can afford to, it will be worth spending your money on writing courses. You’ll learn so much from the course material and you can narrow down what you’d like to focus on by choosing the course that suits you best. Writing conferences and workshops have helped improve my own writing dramatically and I’m so fortunate to have traveled around the globe to participate in them. Writing classes can help you with things that you may be overlooking such as industry standards, grammatical/punctuation/sentence structure errors, and can provide new and exciting inspiration!
Check out some of our writing programs here: Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House